Extreme Sequelitis – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

July 21, 2006

One day…. one day in my lifetime…. I will watch a sequel to an action movie that doesn’t try to cram 5 hours of material into a 2 hour movie.

One day, I will watch a sequel that doesn’t say, “Okay, if we’re going to make a sequel, it has to be bigger, badder, more exciting, more fast-paced, bigger stunts, greater special effects, more action. MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

One day, I will watch a sequel that realizes that it was the quiet moments, and not the loud ones that made people like the original movie in the first place.

Unfortunately, that day was not last night, when Suze and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which is, of course, the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

It was not a bad movie. It wasn’t really. It was fine. The problem is that the original movie wasn’t fine, it was pretty damn good. It sparked a tremendous resurgence in the love of pirates (which is right up there with robots, ninjas, monkeys, and racecars). Just a primal, seafaring, take what you want, no rules, Arrrrggggghhhhhhh.

It’s like they removed all of the things that made the first movie unique, and focused on the stuff that was just okay.

– The “over-the-top” speech and demeanor of Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow.

I’d say that Depp had at least half the number of lines that he had in the first one. And most of them weren’t as funny.

– Great swashbuckling and fight scenes, that were enjoyable and light-hearted.

The main fight scene was so “over-the-top” ridiculous, that you couldn’t enjoy the simple swordplay or fight scenes. And they had Kiera Knightly’s character fighting waaaaay too much. I understand empowerment and all of that, and probably you don’t want to just have her be helpless throughout the movie, but still historically inaccurate, and not as much fun.

– Kiera Knightly moving around the Caribbean in sexy outfits.

In most of the movie, they had her in a wet disheveled dress with her hair completely messed up, or in men’s clothes.

– Witty barbs exchanged between Sparrow and Barbosa, Sparrow and Norrington, and Sparrow and Will.

Basically non-existent. There’s no mentor-student relationship with Jack and Will. Norrington is an after-thought, plot-device. And Davey Jones wasn’t very clever or fun.

– A fun adventure movie you could take anyone to go see.

The fun was completely removed from the movie. The danger was much more real. The humor and satire was replaced by slapstick.

– The movie kept you guessing which side Jack Sparrow was on for the entire film.

This movie, there was no guessing. Jack was in it for himself, and then the movie tried throw in a ham-handed, redemption plot.

And the set-up of a romantic triangle between Jack, Will and Elizabeth was extremely stupid. It’s like giving the shippers what they want.

And could we please have a movie where the camera doesn’t desperately need some Ridilin. I’d like to see the action happening, not move the camera around so much, so I see glimpses of movement.

Okay, the movie wasn’t all bad:

– Using “Bootstrap” Bill Turner on Davey Jones’ crew was a good idea.

– The sea creature crew was extremely well done, creepy, and original.

– The Pirate myths were flowing very well, and even if half have been cleaned up for the movie, it still felt like you were hearing real pirate tales.

РThe first movie covered every pirate clich̩ in the book (in a good way), except the giant Octopus or Kraken. Including it in the movie, was a good, if over-the-top choice.

– The surprise ending was AWESOME. Wasn’t prepared for it at all. Didn’t know about it. And had me leaving the theatre with a smile on my face. Just tremendous. Never saw it coming.

I’d give it a **1/2 (out of five) rating. Major sequelitis, cramming a 5 hour plot into a 2 hour movie, and not enough funny quiet moments really hurt the movie.